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Our view: Time is money to nonprofits

When speaking with representatives from local charities and nonprofit groups for this week's cover story, we asked a loaded question: What's more valuable to your organization, monetary donations or volunteer hours?

The Rescue Mission's Paul

LaDolce pointed out that donated dollars help meet immediate needs, but volunteers, often committing hours each week for an extended period of time, help keep groups functioning in a different way.

Chris Benton, with Vera House, said it's a personal choice that each donor makes: time or money.

But both are immensely important, especially in the uncertain economic climate of 2011.

For Meals on Wheels, however, the uncertain environmental climate has proven a higher need for volunteer drivers with four-wheel drive.

The dumping of snow Syracuse received in the first weeks of December forced Meals on Wheels to close, said Katherine Lowe, communications director.

"Our drivers just couldn't get down the side streets," said Lowe.

The organization has plans in place for such occasions, of course -- the 728 clients Syracuse Meals on Wheels serves are given "blizzard packs" with two days' worth of food in case of emergencies.

And Meals on Wheels has only closed twice in the last four years, Lowe added.

But when it comes to providing meals for older community members and shut-ins, why take any chances?

Lowe expressed a need for more volunteer drivers with vehicles that can handle the snowy Syracuse streets, and reminded us that there is no minimum amount of time one can donate as a volunteer.

See pages 7 and 8 for each orgnization's website, where volunteer info is available.

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